la crueset mini pot
Weekly Meal Plan ~ Recipes and Ideas

Hello, Friends!

la crueset mini pot

As we are all making the very best of staying home during the Corona Virus Pandemic, some of my mom friends and I shared what we are doing to keep up with the demands of feeding everyone 3 times a day (with snacks in between). I thought you all might be feeling the same and so I wanted to share some of the recipes that my husband and I make that are typically big hits with our kids. They have been helpful to have on hand while we are all gathering around the table several times a day!

One of the most requested by my kids is Baked Cheesy Chicken Burritos. This is a dish that serves several- it works well for serving for dinner and then saving half the dish to serve for lunch the next day. It reheats in the microwave easily- or you can put it in a conventional oven to re-warm.

1. Baked Cheesy Chicken Burritos

la crueset mini pot

Baked Cheesy Chicken Burritos

Lydia Menzies

Ingredients
  

  • 3 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 8 oz. cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 pkg. Monterrey Jack shredded cheese (or Mexican cheese mix)
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 8 Flour Tortillas (8 inch)

Instructions
 

  • In a large pan, melt butter and sauté onion.
  • Stir in cream cheese and chicken.
  • Spray 9×11 casserole dish with Pam.
  • Put 3-4 tablespoons of chicken mixture in tortillas and roll up tortillas.
  • Place the rolled tortillas in the casserole dish.
  • Drizzle half-and-half over the rolled tortillas in the casserole dish.
  • Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees (F) for 45 minutes.
  • Uncover burritos and sprinkle cheese over top. Bake for another 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  • To serve, use a knife and go around the outside edges. Cut burritos in half to make 16 servings.
  • Side items that work well with this dish are homemade salsa, black beans, guacamole, and yellow rice.

2. Sheet Pan Fajitas

This recipe is one of my very favorites to make because it is SO easy to prepare and everyone loves it! This recipe is from Balancing Motherhood, and I always receive messages about how much families enjoy it when I suggest it. The recipe can be found here >> Sheet Pan Fajitas

3. Ron’s Marinara Sauce & Meatballs

My husband has a family friend who owned an Italian restaurant, and he would invite Ron to the kitchen to learn the recipes. Between that experience and having a mom who is a great cook, Ron developed his own love of creating in the kitchen. Mostly, he just likes to eat, and so he makes food he loves. If I’m lucky I will catch him in time to get him to write down how he made something. It took me awhile to get this one on paper, but he finally stopped long enough to write it out for me. Our family loves this meal- and I have to admit…I was never a spaghetti and meatball kind of girl before he converted me! The recipes make enough for 6-8 servings. Here are the recipes in his words…

la crueset mini pot

Ron’s Marinara Sauce & Meatballs

Lydia Menzies

Ingredients
  

Marinara Sauce

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small sweet onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup white wine (cheap Chardonnay)
  • 1/2 or more cup fresh chopped basil
  • 2 tsp salt (3 tsp if you love salty stuff)
  • 2 14 oz. cans petite diced tomatoes
  • 26 to 27 oz. finely chopped tomatoes (Pomi brand is my fav)

Meatballs

  • 1 to 1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 10 to 15 larger fresh basil leaves finely chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 small sweet onion diced finely
  • 3 large cloves garlic diced finely

Instructions
 

Marinara Sauce

  • Cook onion for a few minutes in olive oil. Add garlic continue until garlic is barely turning golden. Add wine and cook until reduced about half in volume or near there.  Add all other stuff and cook on low while stirring occasionally until you think it’s right for you. 10 or 15 min should do it. Serve with spaghetti, ravioli, manicotti, etc.

Meatballs

  • Mix the above thoroughly then add 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of ground beef and mix thoroughly.  Form meatballs and cook in cast iron skillet over medium low heat turning every few minutes until done.

Salmon BLTs

This dinner comes together quickly and can be eaten “deconstructed” to suit the tastes of our sometimes-picky families. Our kids gobble this one up and I am always happy to serve something that cooks quickly and is enjoyed by everyone!

la crueset mini pot

Salmon BLTs

Lydia Menzies

Ingredients
  

  • 3 Salmon Fillets
  • 4-6 pieces of bacon
  • lettuce of your choice
  • 4-6 slices tomato
  • bread such as brioche or white bun (sliced)
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • capers

Instructions
 

  • Place bacon in pan and cook until desired crispness.
  • Remove bacon from pan and set aside on plate with a paper towel to absorb oil.
  • Using same pan, cook salmon fillets in oil left from cooking the bacon. Depending on thickness of salmon fillets, cook about 3 mins. on each side.
  • Remove salmon from pan and set aside.
  • Add white wine to same pan and simmer- let reduce to about half its volume.
  • Remove wine mixture from pan and pour into a shallow bowl.
  • Add mayonnaise and capers to wine mixture and stir. Use as a sauce for the Salmon BLTs.
  • Spread mayonnaise mixture on bread.
  • Assemble salmon with bacon, lettuce, and tomato on bread.

5. “Grammy Soup”

This soup is named after my husband’s step-mom. She made this for us several times when our kids were born, and it was a life-saver for many meals! It is a simple recipe but so filling and satisfying! It has become a go-to for our family. We like to serve it with Pepperidge Farm 3-Cheese Bread (freezer section).

la crueset mini pot

“Grammy Soup”

Lydia Menzies

Ingredients
  

  • 46 oz. tomato juice
  • 32 oz. beef broth (or chicken broth)
  • 1.5-2 lbs. ground beef
  • 4-6 carrots chopped
  • 4-5 stalks celery chopped
  • 1 small sweet onion chopped
  • 1 cup barley (follow directions on box for 1 cup barley)
  • 1 can white shoepeg corn
  • 1 can white beans (or other favorite beans such as kidney or pinto)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Instructions
 

  • In a large dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat and saute’ chopped onion for a few minutes.
  • Add tomato juice and broth to onion. Add in carrots and celery and let simmer. Bring to a boil and let cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat.
  • In a separate medium pot, (while the veggies are cooking) cook barley as directed on box.
  • In a separate pan, brown meat and dispose of grease (remembering not to put grease down the drain).
  • When ground beef and barley are cooked, carefully add to soup mixture.
  • Add corn and beans.
  • Season with salt.
  • Let soup simmer for 5-6 minutes and then serve.

(You can find more of our family-favorite soup recipes here!)

I would LOVE to hear what you guys made and enjoyed! If you have great recipes that you would like to share, send them to me! I will share them here!

Cheers to staying well and well-fed!

Love,

Lydia xo

Easter Supper Club

With Peter Cottontail getting ready to hop down the bunny trail soon, I wanted to show y’all the Easter Supper Club that my teenage daughter and I hosted for her and her friends!

I often share about our Supper Clubs on Instagram, and it is the most asked about topic I get! Hosting a Supper Club is a fun way to get the girls together and let them enjoy just hanging out, eating, chatting, and sometimes some really loud singing. I truly love seeing them come through the door each time and look forward to coming up with new ideas for each time. I try to keep the menu different every time- but I do pay attention to the things that go over really well and sometimes repeat those certain dishes.

The very first question I am always asked is, “how many girls do you host each time?”. The answer to that is that we have about 24 girls and we range each time from around 18-24 gathered together! My daughter and I typically choose a theme and then go from there with planning. This Easter Supper Club is one of my favorites because Loralee Lewis spoiled us and sent us gorgeous paper designs made especially for us. Loralee has a beautiful selection of designs ready in her shop, but she let us design our own for this one which was such a treat! We gave her our vision for a preppy, springtime meal and she worked her design magic and shipped it all to us.

For a springtime dinner, I like to serve lighter fare and lots of fresh produce. The menu for this Supper Club was sandwiches, gazpacho, veggie platters with hummus, a big bowl of berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries), pita chips, and dessert. I made my favorite gazpacho recipe that actually happens to be one of my daughter’s all-time favorites. We served the gazpacho in the soup containers that you see above. I love serving gazpacho because you can make it a day ahead and the flavors get better overnight. I will share the recipe soon as it is one of my go-to recipes for spring and summer. I feel really lucky that my kids actually love it. It was even one of their favorites when they were babies!

When I was deciding how to set the table, I really wanted to use the bold green and white stripes to coordinate with Loralee’s quatrefoil design on the placemats and soup containers. The green stripe matched perfectly to the green top on the container. I also wanted to pull in the navy blue that was used and so I found a larger quatrefoil napkin print in navy that I loved and went with it. I also layered the dinner plates and dessert plates in green and pink, and as you can see, repeated the pink and green with the straws and cups. For flowers, I really wanted to use pink tulips- and when I saw the tulipieres (tulip holders) at Parker Kennedy Living -The Cellar, I knew those would be the perfect pieces for the center of the table. The tulipieres are pieces that I use all spring and summer, and they make flower arrangements so easy to create. And, they don’t have to be just for tulips!

Did you notice how the little favor boxes and straw flags from Loralee Lewis say, “Egg-stra”? Those were a fun nod to one of the girls’ favorite things to say at the time- “you’re so extra” was the inspiration for that little detail, and we just adapted it because it fit perfectly with an Easter theme!

Speaking of extra, I always love making the dessert table a little extra! And, no one ever seems to mind! Ha! Loralee sent over these carrot boxes with customized tags on them and I filled them with Lindt chocolate carrots and put them in a basket with grass. I bought the grass at Lowe’s and potted it in the basket, and then placed the tips of the carrots in the grass.

I really love how the chocolate carrot candy fits perfectly in the carrot-shaped boxes! They were made for each other! I think these carrot boxes with candy would make adorable teacher gifts or neighbor gifts for Easter, too.

We are lucky enough to live close enough to the amazing Mac Lab and are able to pick up their super cute and so delicious macarons often. For this Supper Club, we ordered their specialty macarons and were so happy with them! The bunny macs are too cute and the girls loved them!

I displayed them using egg cups that I bought at Hobby Lobby. I poured sprinkles in the egg cups so that I could nestle the bunnies in them and help them stay up.

The bunny macarons are the kind of treat that is just so cute, you really hesitate to bite into them. And, then you want to save a few because they’re just fun to have~ and they make everyone smile. (As a side note, Mac Lab now offers shipping- which means you can have some even if you aren’t in the Atlanta area.)

I also made some bright Easter Peeps topiaries for the dessert table- they were really fun to make and were actually pretty easy!

To make the Easter Peeps Towers/ Topiaries, I started with styrofoam cones that I bought at Hobby Lobby. I broke toothpicks in half and used them to attach the marshmallow bunny Peeps to the cone. As I was making them, I perfected the pattern a little better as I went. The tallest tower is the last one that I made and you can definitely see the improvement. So, if you decide to make one too- use the tall one as your guide. 🙂 I tied big pink bows at the top to cover the small space that is not covered by the marshmallows. I attached the bows with a straight pin and then used the topiaries on the dessert table. And, yes, the girls asked if they could eat them! Lol

I encouraged them to try eating these instead. My daughter loves chocolate pudding and so she made tiny jars of pudding for everyone and we topped them with edible grass and adorable cookies from Tara at Bambella Cookies.

While the girls were enjoying dinner and dessert, I secretly arranged a glow-in-the-dark egg hunt. It was so much fun! I asked two college girls that we know and love to help us put battery tea lights inside of several hundred eggs. My son was in charge of pulling out all of the tabs in the lights that you have to remove so that they will turn on- and then my daughter, our college friends, and I loaded the eggs with lights- and then they hid them all over the yard. When the girls came outside after dessert, the yard was glowing with eggs every where. It looked so pretty to see all of the eggs lit up. The photos don’t begin to do it justice, but it was really pretty. If you ever have a chance to do a glow-in-the-dark egg hunt, I say go for it! It is especially perfect for older kids.

When the girls found all of the eggs, they met me at the front porch where I had set up a couple of stations with candy. They could trade their eggs for candy and that way I was able to get all of the eggs and lights back so that I can do it again sometime! We had one prize egg and we had a basket of goodies for the friend that found the golden egg…

It was such a fun time! I love these girls and already can’t wait for the next one!

Birthday Party Ideas for a Teen- How to Celebrate a TEEN

Wow! My daughter turned into a teen!  Sometimes it can be tricky to decide what to do to celebrate this milestone.  I wanted to share with you some ideas that may help if you want to mark the occasion but also keep it low-key.  At first, my daughter wanted to have a very large sleepover to celebrate.  I loved it that she wanted to include everyone she knew, but laughed at the thought of trying to corral close to 30 tweens and teens! So, I told her she could have a little, bitty, teeny sleepover and her “real” party could be bubble soccer (which she had been begging to do at this huge sleepover she was planning ).  So, realizing the play on words with a “teeny” party, we went with the TEENY theme and used as many miniature things as we could.  It was such a fun theme and the ideas could go on forever…but this is what we decided on for her teeny, little sleepover. 

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BIRTHDAY PARTY IDEAS FOR TEENS AND TWEENS ~ EMOJI PARTY

Everyone loves to express themselves and EMOJIs make it more fun than ever! These birthday party ideas, with Emojis as the theme, appeal to such a wide range of ages.  I know it is often difficult to find a theme for older kids (tweens and teens), and so this party by Lillian Hope Designs is a perfect way to celebrate with something everyone can agree on…who can deny the charm of these little yellow faces with heart eyes and cute smiles? I also love the fact that they translate so well into fun desserts and treats!  These Emoji Cookies are just the best!

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TRES CHIC~ AFTERNOON TEA PARTY IN PARIS

This chic little party will have all the guests saying ooh la la!  With a sophisticated color palette of black and white, Michele, of Sweet Threads Clothing, set up a french bistro with panache!  Guests were given passports for traveling and could enjoy croissants, meringues, cupcakes, and cookies while soaking up the parisian flair!

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